The X-Men: Movies VS Comics (PT. 2)
I do pointless nerdy things to relax so I am breaking down the differences and similarities between the X-Men characters as they appear in the movie adaptations compared to their comic originals. Maybe you enjoy reading such pointless nerdy things and we can be friends. If you wanted to check out the core group of characters as who appeared in the first film, follow the link below to Part 1.
X-Men: Comics VS Movies Part 1
For this episode we’ll be primarily focused on the new characters introduced in the second film: X2 – X-Men United (known more sensibly outside the US as just X-Men 2). In addition we’ll also address characters who were briefly introduced in the first film but didn’t get fully established until the sequel. And with that, where better to begin than…
Playing by Alan Cumming
The Comic: Although he has spent proportionally more time away from the team compared to the other mutants he joined with (Wolverine, Storm, Colossus), Nightcrawler has long been a fan favourite. Nightcrawler, or Kurt Wagner, is introduced to the comics being chased by an angry mob (complete with pitchforks and flaming torches) in small town Germany. This is due to his unique appearance: dark blue fur, yellow, pupil-less eyes, pointed ears, a prehensile pointed tail and three digits on each hand and foot. Being thought to be a devil can cause problems for young mutants. Fortunately his ability to teleport helps him get away from cliched angry mobs.
After being recruited by Xavier to join the X-Men, Kurt quickly bonded with his team-mates. He was particular close to Wolverine in spite of their contrasting personalities as they would often train together. His appearance initially terrified Kitty Pryde when she joined the team, and the two also became close. In short, Kurt is a friendly, enthusiastic and charismatic character who endears himself to those around him. He idolises film star Errol Flynn and aspires to be a swashbuckling adventurer. Nightcrawler is also a devout Catholic and would take solace in prayer, even briefly leaving the superhero life to study as a priest, but he can never stay away from adventure for long.
The Movie: Before we get into the details, we’ll take the time to say that we loved what they did with the character in this movie. He was an exciting and emotional additional to the franchise. We’re just making that clear before we nitpick him to pieces. Visually he’s pretty on point with the ears, blue skin, small number of fingers and toes and tail. His teleporting also comes with the accurate ‘bamf’ sound that has always been associated with the ability. What’s different is his eyes, now with pupils, and the lack of fur. Instead he has a pattern of scars covering his body, scars that he says are for his ‘sins’, implying they could be self inflected. The Catholic aspect of the character is more integral to the character, with him discussing religion and praying with Rosary Beads during the film. Gone, however, is his adventuring, swashbuckling attitude. Given the limited time afforded to the film-makers it seems like the picked the half of the character best suited to the story.
Played by Shawn Ashmore
The Comic: Bobby Drake was one of the first five members of the X-Men, and the youngest of the initial roster. All members of the team were teenagers, putting Drake in his early teens. Due to his lack of maturity and generally goofy personality he would often act up. During the the first X-Men issue Iceman turns himself into a snowman to amuse his classmates during an intense Danger Room session. Speaking of which, during his early appearances Iceman would coat himself in a layer of snow when going into combat, later refining his powers to change his body into ice. He is also able to summon and shape ice and snow, and shoot sub-zero blasts from his hands. This would develop into generating an ice-slide he could use to move around quickly. Outside of the X-Men, Bobby Drake would work as an accountant, a profession in opposition to usual blasé, goofy attitude.
The Movie: While most of the main characters in the movies have been aged up from their original comic appearances, Iceman is introduced as a teenager sharing a class with Rogue in the first film. His main character arc revolves around his relationship with Rogue, and her powers impeding their desire to…connect. In this regard Bobby is filling in for comics Gambit. His powers are, initially, limited to freezing the air around him and blasting frost at people. His ice form appears later in the series but is sparsely used. Ironically he’s the more level-headed member of the young mutants as opposed to the hot-headed, quick to temper character in the comics. His one unique slice of character in the films is a well written scene where he ‘comes out’ as a mutant to his family with awkward results.
Played by Alex Burton (X-Men) and Aaron Stanford (X2 onwards) (Pictured)
The Comic: Magneto’s original Brotherhood were not…intimidating. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were there under sufferance, Toad was a lackey and Mastermind was creepy (more on him down the page). When Mystique took ownership of the team she filled out the roster with Blob, Rogue, Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro. The Australian journalist and novelist manifested the power to control fire at a young age, but never saw much use for it. When he decided to take up a criminal profession he designed a suit featuring flame throwers, as he was unable to generate flames himself. His brash Australian attitude and worldly view would often grate him team-mates.
The Movie: Pyro might seem an odd choice to include as anything other than a throwaway henchmen, but in the first film they needed a simple visual power manifestation to fill out the classroom. For that purpose Pyro works better than someone like Maggot of Slipstream. In his first appearance he simply makes a ball of flame, but in the sequels he becomes the outlandish and angry counterpoint to Iceman. John Allerdyce (St. John Allerdyce in the comics) hates being restricted in using his powers and is eventually tempted into joining Magneto, scoring one of the best exchanges of dialogue in the series.
Played by Daniel Cudmore
The Comics: Along with Storm, Wolverine and Nightcrawler, Colossus was a major addition to the team in Giant Size X-Men #1. Piotr Rasputin is a Russian born son of farmers, whose powers became public when he threw himself in the way of a runaway tractor bearing down on his sister (who later became the mutant Magik). After joining to the X-Men Colossus very much became the ‘tank’ in the field. When he turns his skin to organic steel he’s essentially indestructible and immensely strong. This powerful exterior belies his real personality, as Piotr is a quiet soul who cares for his family and spends his time oil painting.
The Movies: Colossus plays a rather small role in the movies, providing little more than a recognisable character to fill out the background. The most notable difference is the transformation from Piotr to Peter as he’s now an American. He gets very little dialogue or scenes, but we do see him sketching a comic and volunteering to project the younger students, character traits accurate to the character. His transformation to his organic steel form is pretty much on point. Unfortunately we don’t ever see him let off the chain during the fight scenes – this is a character who should be able to catch a runaway train with his bare hands.
Stefan Kapičić also played Colossus – this will be covered in a future instalment.
Played by Brian Cox (X2) (Pictured), Danny Huston (Wolverine) and Josh Helman (prequel trilogy)
The Comics: Out of all the villains in the X-Men movies, Stryker deviates the most from his comic origins. Stryker first appears in the story arc ‘God Loves, Man Kills’ as a fanatic religious preacher who advocates the death of all mutants. It’s implied that he was involved in the Weapon X project, but his life took a turn when when his wife gave birth to a mutant son. Stryker killed them both and then attempted suicide. His fractured mind lead to his belief that Satan created mutants and his son was a sign from God that he had to kill them all. From here Stryker began playing two roles – as a popular televangelist and the leader of a paramilitary unit who commits hate crimes against mutants. This crusade comes to a head when he attempts to execute Shadowcat live on television before being subdued by a security guard.
The Movies: We wind up seeing Stryker turn up at different times of his life and military career in the films, but he first appeared in X2 played by Brian Cox. Stryker convinces the president to let him raid the Xavier institute, having determined it’s a mutant training facility. During the attack he encounters Wolverine and reveals himself to be responsible for Wolverine’s amnesia and metal skeleton. In spin-off movies and prequels we see that Stryker has spend his entire career working for Weapon X, manipulating and experimenting on mutants in part of a personal mission to wipe the mutant population out entirely. He comes to an end in X2 after a scheme to abduct Professor X and use his powers to psychically reach out and kill mutants around the globe.
Played by Kelly Hu – who we interviewed here!
The Comics: Yuriko Oyama is the daughter of a Japanese crime lord who also created the process to bond adamantium to bone, which Weapon X used on Wolverine. Her father was a WWII pilot who survived a suicide mission, leaving him scarred and dishonoured, which in turn gave him a hostile world view. Yuriko adopted this viewpoint and detriments that the adamantium bonded to Wolverine was rightfully her fathers and, after enhancing her body with cybernetics and long talons on her fingers, went after him. Deathstrike is a vicious fighter, and is now more machine than human. She’s tireless in her pursuit of Wolverine and not matter what damage he inflicts she eventually manages to repair herself and return.
The Movie: In this adaptation they’ve switched Deathstrike from being a cyborg created with magic to being a mutant with the same healing ability as Wolverine. As a result, William Stryker turned into a Weapon X experiment, something she is seemingly unaware off as he keeps her under hypnotic control. For the majority of the Deathstrike functions and Stryker’s bodyguard and assistant, only jumping into the action in the final act of X2 where she faces off against Wolverine with her adamantium claws. She’s Lost of backstory, super villain origin and personality but they did manage to set her up as an exciting rival to Wolverine.
JASON STRYKER – MASTERMIND
Played by Michael Reid McKay
The Comics: Jason Stryker, son of William, did not fare well in the comics given that his father stabbed him to death within moments of his birth. So…that’s about it.
The Movies: In the movie universe William let Jason live long enough to manifest the ability to create telepathic illusions, a power borrowed from another character who we’ll come to in a moment. After Xavier told William he couldn’t ‘cure’ his son and the suicide of William’s wife he had Jason lobotomised to keep him under control while making us of his powers. He also drains Jason’s brain fluid to create the solution he uses to control Deathstrike.
The telepathic illusions come from Jason Wyngarde, better known as Mastermind. This character could create illusions to change how people saw him, the world around them and even themselves to the point they’d believe that they’re living another life. Formally of the Brother of Evil Mutants and The Hellfire Club, it’s Mastermind’s power that played a key role in the Dark Phoenix taking over Jean Greys mind. He’s a completely ammoral character who uses people at will.
Meanwhile…In The Background…
Based on feedback from last time we’re going to touch on some of the characters who appear in the films but don’t play a role in the story.
Played by Bryce Hodgson
The Comics: Artie was adopted into X-Factor after the death of his father, who was working on curing his mutation. With bright pink skin, yellow pupilless eyes and bulbous growths on his head, Artie could not pass for human. He’s also entirely mute, using his ability to generate telepathic holograms to communicate with others.
The Movies: Um, he looks pretty human here. Except for a forked tongue. He doesn’t have any lines so it’s possible he’s mute. Artie gets captured during Stryker’s raid on the mansion and is later reacued from Weapon X by the X-Men. These days he’s usually seen on izombie.
Played by Shauna Kain
The Comics: Teresa Rourke essentially turns up out of the blue in the X-Men comics, revealing herself to be Banshee’s previously unknown teenage daughter. He essentially adopts her on the spot, and given the kind of thing that happens to the X-Men it’s weird that no one questioned this. She was legit, though, and possessed the same super-powered scream as her father in addition to being able to fly. She became a member of X-Force shortly after the group formed.
The Movie: Siryn is a young teen in X2, and she alerts the mansion to introducers during Stryker’s raid by screaming loud enough to wake everyone. She was tranquilized by the soldiers, but saved by Colossus before being abducted.
Played by Katrina Florece (X-Men), Kea Wong (X2 and The Last Stand) and Lana Condor (Apocalypse) (Pictured)
The Comics: An orphan with the ability to summon plasma fireworks, Jubilee was hanging around the mall where she made her home when she saw Rogue, Storm, Psylocke and Dazzler of the X-Men and followed them through a portal to their hide out in the Australian outback. Here she remained hidden until all the X-Men had moved one except Wolverine, who she saved from crucifiction by the Reavers. He took her under her wing and she later joined the X-Men.
The Movies: It’s a weird quirk that the X-Men routinely have a young teen girl character to function as a more familiar role model for the young readers. Jubilee had taken on the role from Shadowcat, and was popular during the 90s while the films were in development. For this reason her distinctive yellow jacket, hoop earrings and sunglasses appear throughout the movies, making Jubilee the most consistent background character.
But we’ve never, ever seen her use her powers or impact on the story. All her dialogue got cut from the first two films and although she was promoted in the lead up to Apocalypse she still didn’t get her moment in the spotlight. She did go to the mall though.
Next up: let out a collective groan for The Last Stand!